Friday, November 8, 2013

ASK LOVE II: Relationship Q & A

QUESTION: I recently moved from California to finally be with my girlfriend. We had been in a long distance relationship since 2010 and we both agreed to the move. Two months after my move, she told me that she did not like to cuddle and that she did not want to have sex. Instead of a relationship she said she wanted companionship. Before the move we had been very intimate but all of a sudden that stopped.

I asked her why she let me give up everything (job, family and friends) to move. She said that she realized two months after our 1st visit in February that she had these feelings. I asked her “why didn’t you say something?” She said, "I was so excited about hearing the excitement in your voice about coming here, I never thought about my feelings". She says that she still loves me and is in love with me, but she knows I won't stay with her without any form of affection. This is not making any sense to me. She just wants companionship but she does not want me to leave and she doesn't want me to move into the guest bedroom. Help!!!

Temple, GA

ANSWER: Beloved, first and foremost, thanks so much for your question. I know it took a lot of vulnerability and courage to share your story. Asking for help is never easy and I celebrate you for that. When it comes to love there are no easy or “one-size-fits-all” answers or approaches. So, I lovingly and respectfully offer some questions for you to thoughtfully consider as you analyze your relationship, explore your emotions and mull over your options. So before you make your decision, let’s review a few things together.

When people express that they had a “sudden” change of heart, it always leads me to believe a few things:

1) It leads me to believe that the woman had feelings about something, but did not have full access to her emotions. In order words, she felt something but had difficulty pinpointing or understanding her feelings well enough to communicate and/or appreciate them. As a result, the change feels like an “all of a sudden” change but it really was a process. In my experience working clients, people rarely have a “sudden” change of heart. Consciously or unconsciously people process or ruminate until they are eventually able to reveal/understand/share their truth. So, just keep in mind that her feelings may not be new but they may now just be “available” to her. That may not make you feel better, but it is something to consider.

2) It leads me to believe that the person does not know how to communicate those feelings or that a person does not feel confident expressing her/his feelings. So instead of her using words to communicate with you, she may be trying to communicate through her actions by pulling away. Her actions are sending you a message and it may be helpful to initiate a conversation to verify exactly what she wants. She may be only saying that she wants companionship but she may really want to leave the relationship. She knows that you made a huge investment by relocating and she may be experiencing some guilt for not speaking up sooner. If you can, ask her directly how she feels about your relocation. Ask her directly if she wants out of the relationship. The conversation may be difficult but don’t let the difficulty deter you from making an inquiry.

3) It leads me to believe that she wants a relationship but only on her terms. For example, she says that she wants you but without the sex. When somebody offers terms that they KNOW won’t satisfy, support, sustain or strengthen you or the relationship, what are they really saying? There may be an underlining message there that you may need to clarify and/or accept. But at the end of the day, remember your decision needs to support you long term. Don’t agree to anything without considering the long-term consequences to your spirit, mind and soul. You have already made enough sacrifices and changes for the relationship. Don’t make emotional concessions that you can’t live with or that don’t honor/value you. Your needs, desires and wants are important too. Don’t shortchange yourself.

Here are my thoughts:
  • My first step would be to initiate a conversation with her to really assess what is going on. That should eliminate your need to create “stories” that are grounded in your fears and exploit your insecurities. Since you have made significant changes in your life, you deserve to understand what happened. But you must also accept that she may not be able or willing to explain/express her change of heart to your satisfaction. Despite her answers or responses, ask the questions. You are asking for you and your spirit.
  • Her statement that she was excited about your excitement makes me wonder about her level of maturity. Life changes are not just about emotions and I wonder if she appreciates the planning, coordination and sacrifices you made to relocate. Nevertheless, I would inquire about her past experiences so you have more data to make a decision. Making decisions without data is never advisable and a combination of facts and feelings (intuition) usually results in the best outcomes. So ask and know that she may share but she may not. Please be cautious because she has already admitted and demonstrated that she may not be able to communicate honestly or in a timely fashion. Remember she said she had feelings two months after your first visit. That’s a sign!
  • Be clear about what YOU want and what you will tolerate. It does not matter that she doesn’t want you to move or leave. Your decision to leave or stay is your decision and it is important for you to own the decision too. I know that you have already made many life changes and making another change may feel overwhelming, unfair or just plain scary. Whatever you feel, accept the feeling but don’t allow the feeling to dictate your actions. If you want to stay and agree to the new arrangements, think about what that means to you spiritually, emotionally, financially and sexually. Be clear about what the new arrangement entails. For example, are you in a relationship or not? Are you two working to heal the “change” or not? If so, how and when? How will you function in a household together and what does that look like? The clearer you are on those issues, the more informed decision you can make.
  • If you leave, plan your departure wisely. Consider all aspects of the move and set a deadline. The deadline will force you to be accountable to yourself.
  • I want you to also consider that she may have a dysfunctional dating style or pattern too. She may have been more interested in the chase than the relationship. I am linking Imani’s article for your review.
  • One last thing, accepting accountability and responsibility for our choices is the quickest way to feel empowered. And you deserve to feel empowered on this new journey. To that end, she didn’t “let” you move, you made a decision to move. You made the best decision based on the information available to you. Even though she was not fair, not completely honest or if she changed her mind, you relocated based on what you wanted. Why is that important? You made a choice to be with her and you have the same power to make a different choice. You are always in charge of you; your choices are your own. The first step on most healing journeys is to accept that we exercise free will and that our choices always have consequences, both good and bad. Sis, please know that you are powerful; you are the director and producer of your life so “walk in” your power. I can tell that you have a lot of power too because relocating across the country takes courage, resilience, coordination, organization and initiative. You are amazing – don’t forget that!

Beloved, I know that you have some hard decisions to make and I want you to know that you are more than able to do what you need to do to support you. Mediate, analyze and be honest with yourself FIRST!!!! If you want a relationship, that’s ok; that’s natural. But the relationship needs to support you also. If not, it may end up wounding you in ways that you may not recognize until later.

Here is the bottom line. Love You!! Honor You! Support You! Plan for You! If you can do all of things with her, great. If not, choose you. It is your decision, but my prayer is that you will choose you - whatever that choice needs to look like to value you. You DERSERVE it!

I plan to write an article about LDD, Long Distance Dating, in the coming weeks. That may be another resource for you too.

Sending you light and love as your contemplate your decision. Blessings!

Related Articles:
Who Are You Really Dating? 11 Dysfunctional Dating Personalities
SAILING THE "SHIPS" OF LIFE: Friendship and Relationship Success
How To Choose a Beautiful Mate...
Do You Really Love Me?


We are looking forward to seeing you at the 2nd annual CREATE LOVE CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN
MARCH 8, 2014

1 comment:

  1. An absolutely wonderful piece, SharRon! Even though folks may not be in a situation similar to the writer, one can learn a great deal from your beautifully powerful response.

    Thank you!